Mason Williams’ season has been less than ideal.
He started the year on the New York Yankees’ 40-man roster, was called up from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders twice, once in May and another in June, only to get designated for assignment on June 29 before going unclaimed and being outrighted back to Triple-A.
But none of that matters now. It’s playoff time and Williams is red hot.
The electric center fielder sported a .382 batting average in his last 10 games heading into Saturday’s Game 3 tilt of the Governors’ Cup first round against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
“It’s just getting a little more consistent with his lower-half mechanics,” RailRiders hitting coach P.J. Piliterre said. “He’s just doing a nice job of making some adjustments in pre-game and in the cage and during (batting practice) and he’s been able to take it to the game a lot easier now. Obviously very capable of performing at that level. Obviously a Major League-caliber player with a lot of ability.
“Really encouraged to see him doing that to finish the season. Could be easy sometimes when you’re struggling a little bit to kind of just go through the motions the last month, but to his credit, he continued to work, wanted to get better, still had the urgency. He’s reaping the rewards right now.”
Williams’ approach of late has been simple. Just get on base and it doesn’t matter how.
Piliterre sees Williams as an on-base guy. So for him, he just wants to see the talented outfielder find a way to get on base twice a game, which was exactly what he did in Friday’s win. The 25-year-old outfield got on base three times in the 4-2 win, and scored all three times.
Because once Williams gets on-base he’s hard to put away.
“Whether he gets a hit, a walk or he gets on by an error. We need him on base because he can steal bags,” RailRiders manager Al Pedrique said. “We have (Donovan) Solano hitting second that he can hit a ball behind Mason to get him to third base.
Williams said the key to his recent success has been staying patient.
While he’s had to overcome some struggles earlier this season, he’s stuck to his grind and stay positive throughout. It’s paid off with Williams taking hold of the lead-off spot in the batting order.
If Friday night’s win is a sign of what’s to come, Williams could be an integral part to the RailRiders’ postseason run.
“I’m just trying to be patient and be able to get my swing off at the pitch I’m looking for. Kind of getting in good counts to get success like that,” Williams said. “Yeah, I definitely had a tough year this year, but at the end of the day I still have to come out here and compete. I still have to compete and play my game and help the team win still.”
With his strong performance over the last month-plus, Williams can take plenty of confidence into the offseason. But he’s ready to continue to put off the offseason for as long as possible.
There’s still work to do.
“I feel good about going into the offseason, but I’m not really thinking about the offseason right now,” Williams said. “I’ve been playing well as of late, so I just want to keep it rolling in the playoffs.”
Reach DJ Eberle at 570-991-6398 or on Twitter @ByDJEberle